THE SANTA CLARA
October 10, 2013
It is the very nature of almost every NBA fan to dream about witnessing one-on-one matchups between the sport’s greatest players.
Today’s hypothetical matchup swirls around LeBron James taking on arguably the sport’s greatest player ever, Michael Jordan.
Although there will never be a final score to wrap up this debate, fans of the game and the athletes alike find it exciting to argue their sides.
In a recent interview, Jordan shared his remarks about duking it out with James if they were both in the primes of their careers.
“I don’t think I would lose,” said Jordan.
This comment raises a question: Who would you take in a one-on-one game between MJ and “King James?”
A quick look at both players’ career statistics doesn’t solve the issue very easily. Jordan and James’ career averages in points, assists and rebounds per game are relatively similar to each other.
Ultimately, the matchup would come down to physical attributes, individual skill and the ever important “clutch” factor.
There is no question that James is a physical beast. The six-foot, eight-inch, 250-pound forward dominates the battle against the smaller six-foot, six-inch, 216-pound Jordan any day. Because of his sheer size and power, James could exert his will down in the paint.
But what Jordan lacks in physical traits, he makes up for with incredible basketball talent. As any NBA follower knows, Jordan dazzled fans every time he stepped on the court. Whether he was dribbling circles around defenders, “posterizing” perennial shot blockers or finishing with a never-before-seen finesse around the rim, Jordan made every basketball skill look effortless.
With the debate at a standstill, nothing matters more than the last-second bucket to seal the victory. James sure has had his late-game heroics throughout the years, most recently last spring against the Indiana Pacers to keep the Miami Heat’s championship hopes alive.
In the end, however, Jordan proved time and time again that he was — and still is — one of the best clutch performers to ever play. He racked up numerous game-winning shots by either pulling up and hanging mid-air from the free-throw line, or attacking the basket at will. And no one can forget the most famous game-winning shot of his career, when he nailed a jump shot against the Utah Jazz to secure his sixth NBA title.
Although these two players are arguably the best to ever lace up a pair of basketball sneakers, Jordan’s “clutch” factor gives him the edge over James in a very close contest that goes down to the wire, ending with a Jordan-esque game-winner.
Brendan Weber is a sophomore communication major and editor of the Sports section.